Questions: An Idiotic Interlude

Author: Bastard Snow <mamille5[at]>

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Seriously.

Summary: The only one of the series not from Dawn's POV. Set just after the end of Idiots Forever.

Pairings: B/X, D/A(ndrew)

A/N: I thought I was done. Seriously. I did. Then this one got me. And eventually, there will be one more. <sigh> Stupid muse. She wouldn't let me work on Choice anymore until this one was done.

Feedback: Love the stuff, please give all you can. I will be most gracious.

Andrew watched from the shadows as the four of them talked about something, some shared bit of history from their past, something that, very likely, nobody else on the planet would understand. Xander was saying something animatedly, his hands gesturing all over the place and, eventually, forming an explosion. Buffy, Willow and Giles all laughed.

Andrew steeled himself. It was now or never. He stepped into the light, pulled a note card from his pocket, and cleared his throat, drawing their attention.

"Andrew, you're up early," Buffy said by way of greeting.

"Hi," Andrew said. "And yeah. I need to, um, you know… ask you guys something."

"Oh, man, we're officially off duty," Xander said. "I've stocked up a lifetime supply of 'not my problem' and I'm cashing it in."

"Oh, no," Andrew said, his high pitched voice rising even higher. "It's not… work related."

"Thank Goddess," Willow said. "I was about ready to teleport you somewhere really unfriendly. Like half a mile in the air."

"Ah, and I have a handkerchief for when you start bleeding all over us," Giles said, smiling at the young woman.

"Hey, I was way younger then," Willow said, a false pout creasing her face. "And besides, it got Glory away from us, didn't it?"

"Yeah," Xander said. "And we were all way younger, then. Except for Giles, who, proportionally, wasn't as much younger as we were. What do you need, Andrew?"

Andrew cleared his throat and looked down at his note card.

"Hi," he said, reading verbatim from the card. "I'm Andrew Wells. Recently, I have been pondering what life-"

"No, no, no," Buffy said, waving Andrew over to her. "No pre-written speeches. Give me that."

Andrew approached the table hesitantly.

"Andrew, we're not going to bite you," Giles said. "For God sakes, man, it's been six years since we even tied you to a chair."

Willow leaned over to Giles and whispered. Giles pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Or rather, it's been six months since-why on Earth did you tie him to a chair?" Giles asked.

"There was a Babylon 5 marathon on," Buffy explained. "If he watched it, he'd be talking about nothing else for weeks."

"That's really cruel," Xander said. "B5 is a great series, and worth being discussed ad nauseam."

Andrew found himself nodding.

"Did Dawn have anything to do with this?" Giles asked.

"She let me out when she found me that night," Andrew said.

Buffy and Willow started laughing. "That," Willow said, "and she put us up to it. Sweetie, she loves you, but there's only so much a girl can take."

"Hey, I got your back, man," Xander said. "I taped the marathon. You can borrow it when me and Buff get back from Italy."

Buffy grinned up at him, and he down at her.

"What were we talking about again?" Buffy asked. "Oh yeah. Give me the card. And then you can talk."

Andrew sighed and handed Buffy the note card, then took a few steps back so he could see the whole table.

"Okay, so what's up?" Xander asked as Buffy shredded the card into little strips.

"It's about Dawn," Andrew said. He watched as four pairs of eyebrows raised simultaneously. "I um… I'd like your permission to ask her to marry me."

A silence followed in which all four original Scoobies stared at Andrew, eyes wide. They looked at him. Then at each other. Then back at him.

Andrew watched as the two women focused their eyes on the two men, who both reached for their jackets. Andrew's eyes widened in horror as they both pulled out pistols and proceeded to fire numerous bullets into Andrew's torso, riddling him with holes and sending blood across the lobby of the hotel. Andrew's body fell to the floor, twitching, as the last vestiges of life escaped him, and his soul floated away to the ether.

Andrew shook his head to free himself from his vision and saw the four people in front of him huddled around a piece of paper.

"Oh, God damn it, Andrew," Xander yelled after a moment. "You couldn't have waited until we got back from our honeymoon? I had the whole month after that!"

"Um… what?" Andrew asked, as Buffy lightly swatted her husband on the arm.

"Xander, don't be such a sore loser," Giles said, a smile playing out across his face.

"Yeah," Willow said as she fumbled through her purse, looking for her wallet.. "I lost, and you don't see me yelling."

"Yeah, well you always were a better person than me," Xander said, smiling and pulling his wallet from his jacket pocket.

Xander rolled his eyes as he handed a twenty-dollar bill to Giles.

"Uh, honey?" Buffy said. "I don't have my purse."

Xander threw his hands up in the air. "Not even married a day and already she's taking my money."

"She's been taking your money since before you got together, Xan," Willow said as she, too, handed Giles a twenty. "Or do you not remember supporting the entire house of potentials on your foreman's salary and your life's savings?"

"Oh yeah," Xander said. He pulled another bill from his wallet. "Well, anyway, there. We're settled." Xander turned to his wife. "And you. You better believe I'll be getting my money's worth."

"I'm confused," Andrew said as Buffy whispered something - an obviously naughty something - into her husband's ear. Xander grew a grin from ear to ear.

"You're confused," Giles muttered. "There's a shock." This statement earned him his own arm smack from Willow.

"Back to the matter at hand," Buffy said, her tone serious, her eyes light, "why do you think you would make a good husband for Dawn?"

"Well, I uh… I'm … I had it written down," Andrew said, frowning.

All eyes turned to Buffy, who looked down at the pile of shredded paper in front of her.

"Well how was I supposed to know it was important?" she asked.

"Andrew," Giles said, "just speak from your heart, lad. You'll find the words."

Andrew nodded and took a deep breath. "Dawn and I have been dating for a little over three years now," he said. "And I've fallen wondrously and madly in love with her. I um… Dawn is everything that… I love her, and I want to make her happy. I think I can make her happy, and I want the chance to… for as long as she'll let me, anyway."

"Okay," Xander said. "But what do you do? I mean, how are you going to help support her? And a family? I mean, you have to assume she's not going to want to live in this hotel if you're married - assuming she says yes - how are you going to pay for things? You don't have a job, you have no experience other than raising demons. What about money?"

"Yeah," Willow added. "And Dawn's almost done with college now, and, okay, that's paid for, but what if she gets a job - as she might - that sends her all over the world. She's looking at linguistics and archaeology and stuff. That could take her anywhere. Can you deal with her being gone for long periods of time?"

"Also," Giles added, "what about children? I realize I may be jumping the gun somewhat, but it is my understanding that women - generally - want children at some point in their life. What evidence have you that you would make a good father?"

Andrew was astounded. He had expected questions, but an outright interrogation? He wasn't ready. He looked across the faces of the four people in front of him - all of them serious - and decided that they deserved answers. And Dawn did, too, because if he wasn't really ready for this, then they would be right to say no.

"These are all valid concerns," Andrew said. "And I believe I can address them all."

He turned towards Xander. "First, you're right. I don't have a job, or any experience that would help me get one. But, do you remember when I had to leave for a couple weeks a few months ago?" Andrew asked. The group nodded.

"My grandmother died. And I had to deal with all the - well, everything. Anyway, Gramma didn't have a will, or anything, and me and Tucker were kind of her only living relatives. Tucker, as you might have guessed if you knew him, is in jail, so he couldn't be there. But, on Dawn's suggestion, I called Angel and them, and they worked some things out for me. And, well… Gramma was loaded. Like really loaded. And even after taxes and everything, and setting aside Tucker's share for him… I just, I don't have to worry about money. Ever. Neither do any kids, grandkids or great grandkids I have. And if we're not stupid about things, neither will anybody else in my family. Ever."

The original Scoobies nodded, and Andrew took that as a sign to continue, and turned to face Willow.

"As for Dawn's career, again, you're right. She might be spending a long time away from home. But, again, the money can help there. If it's not some restricted place, I can just go with her, or something, and that won't be a problem. If it is some place where you need clearance - and for some reason Wolfram and Hart can't get me one - again the money helps. I can find things to amuse myself, like games, or movies, or - or visiting friends I haven't seen in a while. I'm committed to Dawn, and I'm willing to work with her and whatever schedule she might have."

"You realize," Buffy said, "that money isn't the key to everything."

"I know that," Andrew said. "I've known that for a long time. Like I said… wealthy family. Money doesn't equal happiness, but the truth is it can go a long way towards helping. In any relationship, it takes work to keep both people happy, work from both sides. Having money, though, means that there are some things you don't have to fight over. It helps."

Again, the group nodded, and Andrew continued, this time shifting his gaze to Giles.

"As for being a father, I don't think you're jumping the gun. You're right, Dawn probably will want a family, and I would love to be the man to give her one. I can't really offer you any assurances that I'll be a good father. I barely knew my father, he died when I was very young. And money certainly won't solve it. You can't buy a child's love."

Andrew sighed. "But, I have had role models, especially recently. I've seen the way you guys treat people, each other, Dawn, all the people who matter to you. Even when you get angry, there's the undercurrent of love. Even when you disagree, it's with respect. I can't promise that I'll never yell, or that I'll always be respectful, but I will do the best I can to model myself on how you treat each other. Because even if you aren't technically related - or, well, most of you weren't until last night - you're a family. And it's a family I want any children I have to be like, and a part of."

The room was silent.

"You know, without all the death and horror and blood and heartbreak and stuff."

The four gathered in front of him smiled and laughed.

Xander waved Andrew closer to the group, and Andrew stepped forward.

"Let us see the ring," Xander said.

Andrew dug into his pocket and pulled out a small black box, which he handed over. Xander took the box and, with three people looking over his shoulder, flipped the lid open. All four people let out long, low whistles.

Giles looked up at Andrew. "You weren't kidding when you said you were rich, were you?"

Andrew shook his head.

Willow looked up. "Andrew, you've done a fine job stating your case. Give us a few minutes to talk?"

Andrew nodded nervously and pointed behind him. "I'll just be in the kitchen."

"That'll be fine," Buffy said.

The group watched as Andrew shuffled off down the corridor, waited a few seconds, then burst out laughing.

"That was rather fun," Giles said, smiling as he placed his hand on Xander's shoulder and lifted himself from his chair.

"I don't know, I feel kind of bad about it," Willow said. "It was a bit mean."

"Will, it was your idea," Buffy said.

"Yeah, and even if it was mean, it was still fun," Xander said.

"How long do you think we should make him wait?" Giles asked.

"Not too long," Buffy said. "If Dawn finds out she'll go postal."

"Yeah, but we won't here to get the brunt of it," Xander reminded her. "Will and Giles will be taking the heat."

"Still," Buffy said, "I mean, we knew what we were going to say a long time ago."

"Yeah," Xander said, pulling his calendar out again. "We've had the bet going for almost a half year."

"I wonder if I have some sort of precognitive abilities," Giles mused, counting his money again and eliciting eye rolls from the others.

"So should we go in and tell him?" Willow asked.

"Oh, let him stew for another minute," Xander said, smiling. "When are we gonna have another chance like this?"

"Let me see that ring again," Buffy said, indicating the box in Xander's hand.

"Oh, no, not a chance," he said. "Next thing you know, it's gonna be 'Why aren't you as rich as Andrew?' and 'Why does Dawn have all these blue boxes and I don't?' and stuff like that."

"Blue boxes?" Giles asked.

"Tiffany's," Willow and Buffy said in unison.

"But how did you know about that?" Buffy asked.

"Hello?" Xander said, waving a hand. "Dated Cordelia here."

"That'll do it," Willow said.

Giles looked at his watch. "Did any of you know it's almost eight in the morning?"

Willow, Buffy and Xander all looked around, noticing the natural light streaming in from all angles.

"Uh, wow," Xander said. "How did that happen?"

Buffy was suddenly taken over by the need to yawn and stretch, actions Willow and Giles soon mimicked.

"All right, it's been enough time," Buffy said. "I'm going to bed. Xander, would you be a sweetie and go tell Andrew he can ask my sister to marry him?"

Xander nodded. "I'll meet you upstairs in a few minutes."

Buffy gave Xander a loving kiss, then turned to the others. "Willow, Giles… I'll see you later."

Willow and Giles, both looking much more tired than they had mere moments earlier, waved half-heartedly at the newlywed couple and started the ascent to their respective rooms.

Xander and Buffy helped each other out of their chairs, and Xander wrapped Buffy in his arms.

"Love you, wife," he said, grinning at the phrase.

"Love you, husband," she replied, matching Xander's grin. "Now go. Inform boy then come warm my bed."

"Our bed," Xander corrected.

"Right. That."

Xander kissed his wife, then turned her towards the stairs and smacked her bottom to get her moving.

"I'll be up in a minute," he said.

Buffy waved a tired hand behind her without looking back.

Xander watched his wife walk up the stairs, then turned and headed for the kitchen, where he found Andrew sitting at a table with a boat of oatmeal. Xander sat down across from the younger man, his chair backwards.

"Okay," Xander said, placing the ring box on the table between them. "It's time for a guy-to-guy."

Andrew nodded, setting his spoon down in his bowl.

"You have our permission to ask Dawn to marry you."

A grin broke out on Andrew's face, and Xander found it hard not to smile back.

"In truth, it was a very easy decision. Anybody can see she loves you, and you her. And you treat her well. We all know this. It was a unanimous decision."

Andrew nodded.

"But we have a couple of warnings that go along with this," Xander said. "It's standard stuff. Please understand that we don't believe any of these things will happen, it just has to be said. By me."

"Okay," Andrew said, still grinning. "Warn away."

Xander nodded solemnly. "First, you will continue to treat Dawn with all the respect you would treat a 400-pound gorilla that's threatening to drop a bowling ball on your head. Because Will and Buffy are a lot more powerful than that, and you better believe I'm *way* more creative. And you don't want to think about what Giles would do."

Andrew responded with short, quick nods.

"Okay," Xander said. "Second, if you ever, and I mean *ever* look at another woman, you're going to be deader than a… well, than something that's really dead. Get me?"

"Xander, you know I would never -"

"Like I said," Xander interrupted. "These aren't things that we think you'll do, just warnings we feel the need to give. Okay?"

Andrew nodded. "Anything else?"

"Yeah," Xander said, as he slid Andrew the ring box and stood from the table. "When you ask her, make it romantic. Girls like that."

Andrew looked down at the box, and flipped it open, taking another look at the ring.

He looked up to say something to Xander and realized he was alone in the kitchen. Andrew shrugged and finished off the last of his oatmeal. He left the kitchen and made his way up to his room.

"Romantic," Andrew said to himself as he passed Buffy and Xander's room. "I wonder if Dawn likes comic book conventions."

"NO!" came a feminine yell from just inside the door.

Andrew jumped in surprise. "Okay," he said, moving past the door and down the hall towards his room.

"Besides," Andrew said to himself. "Star Wars conventions are way more romantic."